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Old 01-28-17, 09:04 AM   #11
where2
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Have you put your Kill-a-watt on it? it would be interesting to know if it ever goes into defrost mode, or if it's energy consumption is much higher than it used to be.

I glued some magnet tape to the back of a wireless digital thermometer display and tossed the remote sensor in my fridge some time ago. The magnetic readout has nice big numbers on it so I can see what the fridge temperature is running, as well as the high/low for the day.

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Old 01-28-17, 09:25 AM   #12
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I don't recall the old power usage.. So using the Kill-a-watt might not tell me much..

I don't know how the defrost mode works. Is it possible that it's stuck in defrost?
(There is zero frost in the freezer)..

I like the remote sensor idea. Seems like the range might be short, since the 433 Mhz
signal will have a hard time escaping from the fridge..
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Old 01-28-17, 04:21 PM   #13
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The fridge and freezer would be much warmer if the defrost coil were turned on while the compressor was running, it would overpower the compressor because they are usually a heater that uses around 500 watts. A defrost timer shuts off the compressor when it runs a defrost cycle. My fridge has a 23 minute defrost interval. Is this a side-by-side, you'll know it's frosted up if you look through the vents on the bottom of the freezer, if the coils are visible you should see if they are coated in ice or not. You normally wouldn't see the frost inside the area where you put your food.
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Old 01-28-17, 07:39 PM   #14
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To manually defrost my side-by-side, you have to remove three screws to pull off an aluminum duct cover at the rear of the freezer cabinet to get to the frosted over internal coil. With the cover on, everything looks fine in the freezer, and frozen things remain frozen. My "too warm" symptom shows up in the refrigerator portion of the cabinet, where the fan in the freezer section pushes the air to keep the refrigerator cold. Cold air from the freezer compartment goes in the top of the fridge cabinet, filters down through the contents, and returns to the freezer compartment at the bottom to begin the cycle again. When the coil in the freezer ices over, the fan in the freezer above the coil cannot draw air over the coil to force cold air into the fridge section to keep it cold. The fridge section gets too warm, the freezer remains plenty cold, and the compressor runs continuously trying to compensate to adequately cool the temperature sensor in the fridge compartment.
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Old 01-28-17, 08:33 PM   #15
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I'm getting up to speed now! Defrost is for freezer Coil, not the actual freezer compartment!

I decided to get more interested in the hardware, and hauled the fridge out of it's slot,
and looked closer at the back side. There is a drain S~trap with a little drain tube where
the water from a drip pan underneath the freezer coil, can flow down to a lower catch pan..
I had cleaned out that lower catch pan before the other day, it had stuff
that looked like flakes of deposits of some kind.. But there was no water..

I just checked it and there was not a trace of moisture in that drip pan..
I don't see anyway to get a eyes-on the coil, to see if it's iced up..
It has been rainy earlier this month, but right now the indoor RH is 25%.
According to my digital meters It's 40% in the basement and 70% outdoors.

Is it possible the defroster mode failed and the coil iced-up a few weeks ago?
Maybe the cold air flow is being partly reduced (50%?) by the frost,
and it's not allowing enough cold air to flow down to the main compartment?

With the duct damper full open, the cold air is coming down pretty well.
But not enough.. It is increasing the frozen food temp by about 10F..

If we eat all the food, we can unplug it and see if any water drips down..

I just watched a few repair videos.. Found the 3 most likely (failed) parts on Amazon..
Hope this is not going to lead to a new hobby!
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Old 01-29-17, 01:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xringer View Post
I don't see anyway to get a eyes-on the coil, to see if it's iced up..
It has been rainy earlier this month, but right now the indoor RH is 25%.
According to my digital meters It's 40% in the basement and 70% outdoors.

Is it possible the defroster mode failed and the coil iced-up a few weeks ago?
Maybe the cold air flow is being partly reduced (50%?) by the frost,
and it's not allowing enough cold air to flow down to the main compartment?

With the duct damper full open, the cold air is coming down pretty well.
But not enough..
Looking at your model number: WRT138FZDW, we're talking a top freezer unit with the fridge below it.

There must be some way to remove the cover on the rear of the freezer compartment to get eyes on the coil.

Yes, if the coil is 50% or more blocked, you won't be getting the airflow necessary to move the BTU's inside the enclosed container to where they can make the heat transfer on the coil to be removed. The ice forms an insulator.

Tomorrow, if it is really below freezing in MA, consider placing your freezer articles out on the porch in the shade while you poke around in the freezer compartment. If you unplug the device and keep the fridge door shut, it should maintain the cool factor in the refrigerator compartment. In the meantime, keep poking around youtube looking for videos on how to get to the evaporator fan.

I expect it should look something like this:

Once you're in that area of the device, you'll be able to see if you're defroster is not functioning properly, or the fan is not running when it should. Either of those issues could be causing your limited flow.
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Old 01-30-17, 11:06 AM   #17
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Both fans are running..

I've had the kill-a-volt on this thing for 3 hours, it's going off and on (140w),
but I have not seen a defrost cycle... How often do they normally occur?
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Old 01-30-17, 11:04 PM   #18
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Wow, you can find all kinds of stuff on the web..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-defrost

I didn't know if the timer was ever going to click on and run a defrost cycle,
so I kept watching the kill-a-volt for about 6 hours. I became ill, and had to quit.
Feel better now, after a nice afternoon nap..

Maybe tomorrow I'll try to remove temperature control panel cover to see if the timer can be manually advanced..
Looking at the picture of the part, I don't see any manual advance knob..
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Old 01-30-17, 11:32 PM   #19
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It depends. Your model is new enough that it may have a control board and thermistors in it. Then again, it may have (some or all) bimetal switch thermostats and a gear-driven defrost timer in it. Or it could have both.

Either way, if the defrost timer circuit has problems, the unit will never go into that mode. With both, you can force defrost mode to check that it works. The gear timers are usually near the evaporator, and some even have an access hole to stick an allen key or screwdriver, so you can test operation without taking anything apart. The electronic ones have a button or jumper on the control board that initiates defrost. They are easy to get to once you find the board.

Before you do too much, find a repair manual online and skim through it. These units also have a mini manual hidden inside the back cover somewhere, too. It will have a map that tells you where all the "secret" parts are and how to work them for testing.

From your observations so far, it doesn't sound like the unit has lost its charge. Home fridges don't contain enough charge to leak out slowly. If the thing develops anything resembling a leak, its cooling days end quickly.
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Old 01-31-17, 06:54 AM   #20
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Okay Jeff, when I read your post this morning.. I was eager to get up and find that
"access hole", because I remembered there is a small (9mm) plastic hole cap in
the center of the thermostat & vent panel!
Got in there and popped the cap.. Yeah, needed my screwdriver..
It clicked and clicked as I turned CW, then went into defrost mode..
I'm leaving it run for 15 min, to see what happens.. Then I'll advance it back to compressor run..

Edit:
The defrost cycle started normally, but the ticking sounds soon stopped..
No water was heard gurgling down into the pan..
Now, it seemed to be working like before.. So we pulled out the fridge and checked the lower pan for water..
No water.. So, maybe the drain tube is frozen over too.?.

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